Pundi (Rice dumplings)

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Rice dumplings, or Pundi, are steamed dumplings from Mangalore. They are usually served with Kori Gassi (Chicken curry).

Pundi served in a bowl of kori gassi placed on a red napkin with a spoon on the side.

I bought a tabletop wet grinder during my last trip to India two years ago. It stayed unused but on display in my kitchen for over three months. In true style, Hubby-dear instantly added the grinder to the bamboo steamer and sprouter—his list of “things you buy but never use” to remind me of my spendthrift ways (arguments he never wins, but you have to give him marks for trying).

Eventually, Mom tried to make “neer dosa,” but the batter turned out to be too coarse, which we realized later had more to do with the quantity of water. Hubby, of course, had to rub it in with his wisdom – “It’s the Indian dear, never the arrow.” Motivation comes in various ways, so I had to give it one last try, and Voila! Success !!! Finally, we had super soft idlis that everyone was talking about, and once I got that going next step was to make Pundis.

Rice dumplings, or Pundi as they are called in Mangalore, are usually served with Kori Gassi (Chicken curry). These steamed dumplings are very easy to make and are best served warm. The best part – not only did I use the grinder but also the bamboo steamer that had been lying around for ages. As you can imagine, thrifty me used this opportunity to reward myself with a Kitchen-Aid mixer.

Pundi in steamer basket

Some notes/pictures to guide you through!

Notes for using a bamboo steamer

You could use your idly vessel or any steamer of your choice to steam these Pundis. I used a bamboo steamer. Here are the instructions from the user manual –

1. Place food in a heat-safe bowl or plate or place it directly in the bamboo steamer trays and cover with a lid. If using a bowl or plate, be sure it is small enough to allow at least 1″ on the sides for steam to circulate freely. Do not let the lid touch food. You can also use a clean muslin cloth or a kitchen towel like I did.

2. For efficient steaming, be sure the lid is securely in place to prevent steam from escaping.

3. Place the steamer in a large wok or pan with just enough water so that the bottom rim of the steamer tray rests in the water. Be careful not to allow water to boil up into the food when steaming.

4. Steam over medium-high heat for 20 minutes. Check the water level periodically during cooking and add more boiling water as necessary until the food Is cooked. Never let the water boil completely away.

5. When done, turn the heat off. The steamer is very hot. Remove the lid by opening it away from the face. Wait a few seconds to allow steam to escape. Transfer food to a plate immediately if using a kitchen towel since the paper towel will start clinging to the food if left for a long time.

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Pundi in steamer basket
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Pundi (Rice dumplings)

Rice dumplings, or Pundi are steamed dumplings from Mangalore. They are usually served with Kori Gassi (Chicken curry).
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 18 -19 Pundis


  • Ingredients:
  • 1 -1/2 cups white or red boiled rice ukda chawal (soaked for 3-4 hours or overnight)
  • ¼ cup grated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • salt to taste


  • Method:
  • Wash and soak the rice in the water for 3 to 4 hours overnight.
  • Grind the rice to a fine paste using water sparingly. Add coconut and salt and run the mixer until the coconut is well blended. ( Depending on the grinder you use, you may need more or less water. Use as much as you need to get the job done but less the better. If the batter is thin, you will have to spend some more time in step 3, that’s all)
  • Transfer the mixture to a non-stick pin smeared with ghee and cook it over a medium flame, stirring continuously till the batter is solid enough to be rolled into balls.
  • Pinch out lemon sized balls of the dough and roll into a ball and slightly flatten it as shown in the picture below. Continue till all the dough is used up.
  • Transfer them into the vessel of your choice and steam them (see notes) for 15-20 minutes until cooked.
  • Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick and if it comes out clean, the Pundis are ready!
Read the post…For helpful information on ingredient swaps, storage tips, meal prep ideas, and variations!

Disclaimer: Approximate nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.


Calories: 34kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 1mgPotassium: 12mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gCalcium: 1mgIron: 1mg
Course: Side dishes
Cuisine: Mangalorean
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